How to conduct a social media audit

Social media power

Key takeaways:

  • With so many social platforms and social media marketing strategies in play, the best way to track and evaluate your marketing performance is by conducting a social media audit.
  • Social media audits can be customized to evaluate a wide range of data points, depending on the KPIs you use to measure and quantify performance — especially in relation to the marketing goals you’ve set for social networking.
  • Call tracking software can connect phone call referrals back to original social media content, and Lead Center can facilitate easier lead tracking, marketing attribution, and follow up.

In the heat of the moment, social media management doesn’t always allow much time for analysis and reflection. When your company is trying to maintain a fresh presence across multiple social channels, the personnel tasked with managing these social media profiles are often focused on keeping the brand visible and driving engagement among your target audience.

Like with any other marketing channel, though, your social media strategy can benefit from an analytics-driven approach to evaluating performance, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and leveraging optimizations to push your performance higher. Given the complexity of a social media marketing strategy, and the amount of data leveraged across multiple platforms, an analysis requires a social media audit.

Although that term might be intimidating, a social media audit is actually straightforward and simple to execute — and it can tell you a lot about your marketing performance, both on social media and across your larger marketing strategy.

What is a social media audit?

Social media audits are in-depth analyses of the performance data behind each of your company’s social accounts. The goal of these audits is to analyze performance on a per-platform basis while also aggregating data to evaluate your social media marketing strategy as a whole.

These audits can be conducted through social analytics software or executed through a simple spreadsheet in Excel or Google Sheets. Your business can also use free templates that are available online to structure the audit process and make sure it gathers relevant data that can be organized to inform the company’s social strategy.

If you’ve never performed a social media audit before, there’s no time like the present to get started. But as you execute this initial audit, you should also be laying the groundwork for regular audits in the future. Whether you opt for a quarterly, annual, or six-month audit schedule, regular audits will help you track your progress and build upon the value created by the first audit you conduct.

What do you need to conduct a social media audit?

The audit process helps you learn from your successes and use those victories to address shortcomings that may exist in other aspects of your social media marketing strategy. It provides a high-level view of your overall strategy so you can make sure your efforts are creating an ROI for your business and serving established social marketing goals.

Even highly successful social media marketers recognize that developing a social media strategy is often a trial and error process. It’s hard to land on a winning strategy right out of the gate. Even if you do, you can incorporate insights and optimizations over time to push your performance even higher.

To execute a successful audit, you will first need to determine how you’ll measure and evaluate performance. The easiest way to do this is by aligning your audit’s rubric with the goals set for your marketing department.

You should also enter each audit with a clear understanding of the audience or audiences you’re targeting through your social media accounts. Keep in mind that the audiences for each platform may differ based on where and how you’re able to engage them. If your business attracts both B2B and B2C clients, for example, you might prioritize LinkedIn as a B2B marketing tool. In contrast, social networks such as Instagram might cater to a primarily B2C audience.

Once these parameters are established, you can build a framework for auditing your social accounts that deliver insights to push your data-driven marketing strategy forward.

What data should you gather and evaluate in your social media audit?

Your social media audit can be customized to evaluate any combination of data points, depending on your marketing goals and the types of insights you’re trying to generate. But at the very least, you’ll want to collect the following data points for each account:

  • Basic profile information
  • Engagement metrics
  • Publishing metrics
  • Link clicks and other referrals generated
  • Number of fans/followers
  • Average daily reach

In addition, you should include year-over-year and other comparable data sets to track changes over time. This may be less useful if you’ve just started using social media in earnest, but these comparisons can help you track your progress as you build your social presence.

Many brands also gather data related to top-performing posts to use as case studies for the types of social content that generate the greatest engagement and ROI. These insights can address content tone, calls to action, the use of images and videos, and other elements that might be utilized to improve performance across the board.

Through these insights, your marketing team can identify granular trends that can drive optimizations to your existing content strategy. Certain messaging may perform better for your audience on LinkedIn, for example, than for the audience your brand has attracted on Twitter. You can use this as an opportunity to experiment with new Twitter messaging and content creation that could improve your performance and ROI on that platform.

A single social media audit may not overhaul your marketing strategy overnight. Still, it will identify opportunities to steer social content away from bad habits and poor-performing tactics while identifying strengths that can be embraced to a greater degree across your social strategy.

Want more examples plus a breakdown of pros and cons of organic vs. paid social posts? Read more.

How does call tracking support better social media audit data?

Marketing attribution is a critical component of a comprehensive social media audit. Engagement is great, but you should also want to know whether social media marketing is driving referrals and conversions for your business.

Tools such as call tracking software can help connect phone call referrals driven by social media posts. Visitor-level call tracking can distinguish whether referrals are coming from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social platform you may be using, resulting in accurate performance data that can strengthen your audit.

Meanwhile, tools like Lead Center can help track leads that come from social media and properly attribute conversions and revenue generation to social media’s role in qualifying those leads. With the support of this sales and marketing software, your organization will better understand the value of social media marketing, both on its own and within the larger context of a multi-channel customer journey.

Maximize the value of social media marketing

When social media marketing is conducted without analytics or audits to review performance, it can lead to nagging concerns that those marketing efforts — and the resources they require — might not be delivering the same value as other marketing channels. Use a social media audit to learn the truth about your social media marketing, and to discover ways to push your ROI even higher.